Mohs surgery is a specialized technique used to remove cancerous tissue while leaving healthy tissue surrounding the cancer intact.
- Downtime: Varies depending on the extent of the surgery
- Pain Level: Mild
- Results Duration: Long-Lasting
Certain types of skin cancer
Swelling, tenderness, and bleeding at the wound site
Can be used anywhere on the face or body where the goal is to preserve as much healthy tissue as possible
Routine follow-up appointments for many months after treatment
Cancerous tissue removed in thin layers until only healthy tissue remains
Avoid medications and supplements that could increase bleeding risk. Topical or local anesthesia administered prior to treatment
Eradication of cancer while preserving healthy tissue
Healing takes many weeks
Mohs micrographic surgery is a specialized technique for the removal of certain types of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, as well as some kinds of melanoma. It is considered as the most effective procedure for treating skin cancer, offering the highest potential for recovery (it has a success rate approaching 99%), even if the skin cancer has been previously treated by another treatment and has recurred.
Most of our Mohs Surgeons at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York undergo extensive Fellowship Training under Roy G. Geronemus, M.D. In addition, Fellowship Training from the American College of Mohs Surgery indicates a higher level of education and skill which our dermatologists obtain in order to provide patients with the best possible care. Our Mohs surgeons are amongst the most experienced in New York. Our laboratory is also CLIA approved and accredited by the AAAHC.
All of our Mohs closures are performed by plastic surgeons to ensure an optimal cosmetic result. We also provide complimentary laser treatments to reduce scarring and further enhance the aesthetic result of your treatment.
How does Mohs Surgery Work?
Mohs surgery involves removing the skin cancer one layer at a time while leaving the surrounding tissue intact and unharmed. The layers are then analyzed microscopically while you wait in the office. Once a skin layer is removed, it will be processed and reviewed immediately by the dermatologist to determine if all of the malignant cells have been taken. This procedure continues until the tissue is cancer-free.
This process is beneficial to patients because it is the most effective way to remove all cancer cells while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible. In addition to its very high success rate, patients have peace-of-mind in knowing the cancer has been eradicated when they leave our office. To learn more about Mohs surgery, check out our latest webinar.
How to Choose Your Mohs Surgeon
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in America and early treatment from an experienced physician is vital. All of our Mohs Surgeons here at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York undergo extensive Fellowship training under Roy G. Geronemus, M.D.
Mohs micrographic surgery is a procedure that is widely accepted as the most effective method of treating many types of skin cancer. Fellowship training from the American College of Mohs Surgery indicates a higher level of education and skill which our physicians obtain in order to provide patients with the best possible care.
Our Mohs surgeons are amongst the most experienced in New York. In addition to their qualifications and experience, our laboratory is CLIA approved and accredited by the AAAHC. The procedures are performed in a comfortable outpatient setting with a warm and caring staff of registered nurses who assist our surgeons.
The ACMS, otherwise known as the American College of Mohs Surgery or Mohs College, was established in 1967. It was named after Frederic Mohs, MD, who developed the procedure and served as the first president of the Mohs College. From its inception, the Mohs College has promoted and continues to set the highest standards of patient care relating to the management of skin cancers, Mohs surgery, and reconstruction through its fellowship training process.
Once Mohs surgery is completed, the patient is often left with large, complex defects that require the skilled closure of an experienced plastic surgeon. Our plastic surgeons will coordinate this process with our Mohs surgeon, allowing both procedures to be completed on the same day.
The plastic surgeons at the Laser & Skin Center of New York have extensive training, experience, and expertise in a wide range of plastic surgery procedures. They work closely with each patient to ensure the patient’s needs and goals are met.
“Deep initial Mohs stage for scalp cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma to avoid occult tumor.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2020 April.
“Characteristics of Opioid Prescriptions by Mohs Surgeons in the Medicare Population.” Dermatologic Surgery, 2020 March
“Diversity in the US Mohs Micrographic Surgery Workforce.” Dermatologic Surgery, 2019 Aug. 6.
“Geographic Distribution of U.S. Mohs Micrographic Surgery Workforce.” Dermatologic Surgery, 2019 Jan.
“Demographic and tumor characteristics of patients younger than 50 years with nonmelanoma skin cancer referred for Mohs micrographic surgery.” Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, 2018 May.
“Geographic Distribution of U.S. Mohs Micrographic Surgery Workforce” Dermatol Surg. 2018 Apr 3.
“Broader Practice Indications for Mohs Surgical Defect Healing by Secondary Intentions: A Survey Study” Dermatol Surg. 2017 Mar.
“Broader Practice Indications for Mohs Surgical Defect Healing by Secondary Intention: A Survey Study.” Dermatol Surg. 2016 Dec 29.
“Deep Venous Thrombosis Following Mohs Micrographic Surgery: A Case Report.” Dermatol Surg. 2008 March.
Mohs Surgery In The News
Questions and Answers
Q: What Are The Advantages of Mohs Surgery?
A: The technique offers the highest possible cure rate for the treatment of skin cancer, compared to other therapeutic modalities. Mohs surgery also allows the physician to remove as little normal tissue as possible around the tumor, and thus in many cases can provide a superior cosmetic result. Another advantage is that with many large skin cancers, hospitalization can be avoided by performing Mohs surgery on an out-patient basis.
Q: How Long Should I Plan To Spend In The Doctor's Office?
A: The length of time depends largely on the size of your skin cancer and the number of stages that are required. You can expect to stay at least two to four hours, however, some patients may be required to stay longer. Remember that the major goal of the procedure is to achieve 100% removal of all of the tumor cells. The removal of the skin cancer will be completed during your office visit.
Q: What Happens After Surgery Is Completed?
A: There will be a wound following the completion of the Mohs surgery. There are several options to allow for healing. These options include allowing the wound to heal by itself, suturing through primary closure, skin grafting, and skin flaps. We sometimes choose to use lasers to help the healing process at the time of the procedure and also during the healing phase. In almost all cases, we perform the repair of the wound on-site immediately following Mohs surgery. However, it is always your option to select another surgeon for the reconstruction of the postoperative wound.
Q: Will I Have Office Visits After Surgery?
A: Yes. It will be necessary to see you routinely after the surgery for several months. The frequency of these return visits will depend upon the size and location of your skin cancer. After the short-term follow-up visits are completed, the long-term follow-up will be performed by your referring physician.
Q: What Are The Odds That My Skin Cancer Will Return After Mohs Surgery?
A: Mohs surgery offers the highest cure rate of any treatment method. If your skin cancer has never been treated before, then the chance of recurrence is less than 1%. If your lesion has been treated before, then there a 4% or less chance of recurrence.
Q: What Are The Alternatives To Mohs Surgery?
A: Mohs surgery is the treatment of choice for recurrent skin cancers, skin cancers that arise in skin that had previous x-ray treatment, and skin cancers near vital organs such as the eyes, mouth, nose, and ears. For uncomplicated skin cancers, alternative treatments might include routine surgical excision, x-ray treatments or destruction of the tumor by burning or freezing. However, the cure rate of these treatments is lower than what is typically seen with Mohs surgery.
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